Are You Addicted?
Everybody is addicted or is an arm’s reach away from somebody that is addicted to something. In this day and age of ever increasing hedonistic values, we must recognize our vices and the effects that they have on our personal lives. According to this addiction resource site, where you can also take a nice little addiction quiz, “addiction is a primary, chronic disease characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response.”
In the layman’s terms, addiction lies where a pleasurable activity starts affecting us in a negative way. We are blinded by the way the activity makes us feel, and we may subconsciously make excuses for it. In this article I will explain the differences and similarities of a drug addiction and process addiction, common addiction warning signs, and how to know if someone close to you is struggling with addiction.
Process Addiction and Drug Addiction. What's the Difference?
Addictions primarily fall into two categories: process and drug addiction. Process addictions are commonly associated with events such as sex, eating, gambling, video games, etc. These are all processes that make us feel good and provide us pleasure. Drugs also provide us pleasure.
These two types of addictions differ in the fact that they’re centered on different things. However, they’re the same in that they act in a similar way in our brain. Some brain cells release dopamine when something great happens, and a separate set of brain cells is designed to respond when that trigger appears. It’s the innerworkings of these cells that’s responsible for the flood of euphoria when we smell a certain food or hear a baby. It’s no different when one has sex too often or eats too often. It makes them feel really good, and they continue to chase that feeling disregarding potential negative consequences.
It might be funny to some people that kids can actually become addicted to Fortnite, but it’s not impossible. Obsessing over a certain process or behavior – even if it is a seemingly harmless video game – could start to cross over into a real addiction once it starts to negatively impact one’s relationships, responsibilities, finances and emotions.
Drugs work in the same way, only more direct. You pop, smoke, drink, or inject the drug and it immediately causes your brain to release dopamine, giving you that euphoric feeling. You can find more valuable information about process addictions, drug addictions, and more online.
Addiction: Warning Signs
There are lots of signs that you might be addicted to something. While most of them are fairly obvious, it’s important to understand them in order to realize and accept them. The classic signs of addiction are cravings for the substance or the activity, and withdrawal symptoms when you stop doing it.
If you start to smoke too many cigarettes or take drugs too often, you’ll most likely start to feel cravings. These can be physical or psychological, but they’re natural responses to your brain craving that release of dopamine. You’ll start to take the drug or do the activity more often, and you’ll start to do it in larger quantities. This is because your tolerance to the drug or substance increases, so you need more of it to get to the same level of high you were getting to previously. You can apply these symptoms of drug use across the board. You’ll start to play more video games. You’ll start to seek out sexual partners more. You’ll eat more and more food. Once you’re addicted to something, you’ll find that it’s almost impossible to do it in moderation.
One of the other signs of addiction that I’d like to discuss has to do with consequences. Much more often than not, your personal life will start to slip. You might see changes in your behavior, how your friendships and family relationships are evolving, and your work life changing. If you find that you’re lying to conceal your behavior, you might be addicted.
Now, if your parents absolutely hate video games but you want to enjoy them every once in a while, you may have to lie. This doesn’t mean you have an addiction, so you have to be smart in your analysis of your own life. However, whenever an addict knows they’re engaging in unhealthy or bad behavior they’ll always try to hide it and lie to cover it up.
We shouldn’t condone this lying, but with the attitude and atmosphere we as a society have created, it’s hard for an addict to feel like they have a choice. We’ve created a negative outlook, stereotyping and misjudging people for their addictions. Don’t let this scare you. If you think you might be addicted to something and are finding commonality with some of the things in this article, I recommend taking this accurate addiction quiz.
How to Spot and Help an Addict
It’s also important to know the warning signs of addiction from an outside perspective. There are a lot of warning signs, including all of those I mentioned in the last few paragraphs, but external signs can be a little different. Significant changes in behavior can be serious. If the person’s daily life changes or he or she goes missing for long periods of time and looks a little off, these can be warning sings.
A person that is addicted to something will go to great lengths in order to keep doing that thing, including skipping school or ditching out on work, family dinners, commitments, and other activities. Mood swings are also a telling sign. They might be happy when doing the activity, and mad or sad when off it. They may get very irritable and defensive with you. These are common symptoms of drug use. If these are unlike the person, it’s not a good sign.
Addiction is rampant in the United States and across the world. When most people think of addiction they think of drug addicts, but a lot of the time that isn’t the case. People can have drug addictions or process addictions. Process addictions include things like gambling, diet coke, video games, sex, and food. Anything can become addictive if it makes you feel good. You may start to abuse it and it may start to seep and grab hold of your life and relationships. If you think any of the signs I’ve described apply to you or somebody you know, I urge you to take the quiz linked earlier in this paper. It could help you gain a clearer mind and save your life!